CLAM is available from the Python Package Index; a standardised framework and repository for the installation of all kinds of Python packages. This is the easiest method of installing CLAM, as it will automatically fetch and install any dependencies. We recommend to use a virtual environment (virtualenv) if you want to install CLAM locally as a user, if you insist to install globally, prepend the following commands with sudo:

CLAM is written for Python 3, which we will use in this documentation. Since version 3.0, backward compatibility with Python 2.7 has been dropped.

We recommend you first create a Python Virtual Environment. To create a virtual environment, which we name clamenv here (but you can choose any name you want), issue the following command:

$ virtualenv --python=python3 clamenv

To enter the virtual environment, type the following (note the period):

$ source clamenv/bin/

This will change your prompt by inserting the name of the virtual environment. Now you can proceed with to install CLAM in the virtual environment:

$ source env/bin/activate

If virtualenv is not yet installed on your system, you can install it as follows (example for Debian/Ubuntu systems):

$ apt-get install virtualenv

Now you can install CLAM as follows:

$ pip install clam

If pip is not yet installed on your system, install it as follows (example for Debian/Ubuntu):

$ apt-get install python3-pip

You can verify the availability of CLAM by opening an interactive Python interpreter and writing: import clam

LaMachine: a meta-distribution with CLAM

We also offer LaMachine, an environment with CLAM and various CLAM webservices pre-installed, along with a lot of other NLP software. It is available as a Virtual Machine, Docker container, as well as a virtual environment through a native installation script. It is designed to facilitate installation of our software.

Installation Details

The following software is required to run CLAM, the installation process explained above should obtain and install all the mandatory dependencies automatically, except for Python itself:

  • python 3.3 or higher (2.7 is not supported since CLAM v3!)
  • flask
  • lxml
  • requests
  • requests-oauthlib
  • PyYAML
  • mysqlclient (optional, needed only for MySQL support)
  • FoLiA-Tools (optional, needed only for FoLiA support)

For development and testing, each CLAM webservice can run stand-alone on any TCP port of your choice (make sure the port is open in your firewall) using the built-in webserver. For production environments, it is strongly recommended that you plug CLAM into a more advanced webserver (Apache, nginx, lighttpd).

If you look in the directory where CLAM has been installed, the following files may be of particular interest:

  • – The webservice itself; the command to be invoked to start it.
  • – A very generic CLAM client, to be used from the command-line.
  • – The default dispatcher for launching wrapper scripts.
  • config/ – The directory containing service configuration files. Place you service configuration here.
  • config/ – An example configuration.
  • common/ – Common Python modules for CLAM.
  • common/ – Parameter-type definitions.
  • common/ – Format-type definitions.
  • common/ – CLAM Data API.
  • common/ – CLAM Client API.
  • static/style.css – The styling for visualisation; you can copy this to create your own styles.


Starting the service in stand-alone mode is done by launching clamservice with the name of your service configuration. This standalone mode is intended primarily for development purposes and not recommended for production use. The example below shows how to launch the supplied “Text Statistics” demo-service:

$ clamservice clam.config.textstats

Setting up the service to be used with an already existing webserver requires some additional work. This is explained in later sections for Apache and nginx.

Source Code Repository

The CLAM source code is hosted on Github.

If you want to work with the latest development release of CLAM rather than the latest stable version. You can clone this git repository as follows:

$ git clone git://

This will create a directory clam in your current working directory. To install CLAM globally or in your local Python virtual environment, use the included script:

$ python3 ./ install

Use sudo for global installation, or ensure you are in a virtual environment for local installation. Cloning from github directly is only recommended for people who want to contribute to CLAM development itself.

People migrating from very early versions of CLAM may have adopted a workflow that uses the clam repository from github directly, without running This is no longer supported and discouraged.